Paul Hayes Follow @fofr on Twitter

A greener Christmas

A post about a few things you can do to make Christmas more environmentally friendly. It follows on from my Going Green post.

  • Avoid glitter. Most glitter is made from plastic, it’s microplastic which increases the likelihood it will be eaten by small animals.
  • Avoid fireworks on New Year’s Eve, they kill wild animals
  • Just don’t bother with Christmas crackers, they’re expensive and go straight to landfill


When wrapping gifts:

  • don’t buy new wrapping paper, especially paper wrapped in single use plastic
  • reuse wrapping paper you already have (cut out bits of old tape)
  • reuse that brown packing paper Amazon stuffs into its packages
  • use brown paper
  • don’t buy gift bags, save and reuse all gift bags you’re given
  • use string rather than plastic tape, then reuse the string, use paper tape as an alternative
  • don’t buy gift tags, especially if wrapped in plastic, make tags from old Christmas cards

When giving and opening gifts on different days, keep the wrapping from one day and reuse on later gifts another day.


  • experiences rather than things
  • your time
  • things you’ve made
  • things you already have that someone else might want more
  • digital rather than physical media
  • things that aren’t made from plastic
  • to charity

Ask for:

  • gifts that don’t contain plastics or synthetics
  • responsible gifts
  • donations to charities you support

Christmas cards

Every part of a Christmas card can be reused:

  • reuse envelopes as scrap paper, recycle after reuse
  • donate used stamps to the RSPB
  • split old cards in two, make the half with the design a gift tag for next year, use the back for scrap paper and once used recycle

Buy cards that:

  • are made from recycled material
  • don’t contain glitter or plastics
  • don’t come in a plastic box
  • give profits to charity

Plan ahead and buy your Christmas cards cheap in the post-Christmas sales. I don’t know what large shops do with any Christmas stuff they can’t shift, but it can’t be good.

What you eat at Christmas

  • Buy locally
  • Don’t buy too much, it’s ok to indulge but make sure you aren’t wasting food
  • Avoid food wrapped in plastic
  • Don’t buy individually wrapped chocolates
  • Use all your leftovers – fry up veg, cold turkey sandwiches, and so on
  • Don’t tip fat down the drains, keep for future roast vegetables and gravy
  • Use turkey bones and vegetable peelings (if you peeled) for stock
  • Compost food waste
  • Buy late and purchase discounted food that’s destined for landfill (this year our local co-op reduced £14 lobsters down to £3.50, so we bought 4 and ate them on boxing day)

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